Lemon Olive Oil Polenta Cake with Boozy Bourbon Cherries

Gluten-Free   /   Vegetarian

Lemon Olive Oil Polenta Cake | ourfourforks.com

Sometimes when I crave a food, I become a little obsessed. And lately that food is polenta. Not the creamy, warm polenta that may be paired with fall or winter vegetables, but summer polenta: grilled polenta squares, cornmeal pancakes and this lemon olive oil polenta cake. Josh and I went to visit my family on Long Island this weekend and since I couldn’t go to the beach (weather), making this lemon olive oil polenta cake with Isabel was my stand-in activity. It underwent a few variations, but I ultimately settled on this moist version made with honey, polenta, olive oil, zesty lemons and almond meal.


I love this recipe because of it’s versatility; if you’re me, you’re likely to have these ingredients on hand at any given time. Paired with yogurt and fruit, it’s the perfect breakfast cake (think fancy corn muffin in cake form). Paired with crème fraîche, coconut whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, it’s the perfect summer dessert. And sliced up plain with some (almond) butter and jam – afternoon snack.


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Grilled Sugar Snap Peas with Lemon Oregano Butter

Gluten-Free   /   Paleo   /   Vegan

Grilled Sugar Snap Peas with Lemon Oregano Butter | ourfourforks.com

In the fall and winter, I roast everything. But as soon as there is a glimmer of warmth in the spring, I start to grill. Josh and I live in a 700 square foot apartment in South Boston; our kitchen is tiny and we have no outdoor space for a grill. But when we’re not enjoying someone else’s barbecue, we use our grill pan indoors. Our apartment sits in a cloud of smoke afterwards, but we’d both argue it’s worth it.


Grilled sugar snap peas with lemon oregano butter are the perfect summer side dish. The snap peas are sweet and retain their crispiness when grilled. Their subtle chargrilled flavor is balanced out by the delicate shallots, lemon zest and fresh oregano. I ate these with salmon and topped them on my lunch salad the next day. If you choose to use a real grill rather than a grill pan, you may want to skewer the sugar snap peas first. Vegan? Simply substitute the butter for an oil of your choice.


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Cauliflower “Couscous” with Dried Apricots & Cashews

Gluten-Free   /   Paleo   /   Vegan

Cauliflower Couscous | ourfourforks.com

I usually associate cauliflower with the fall and winter months, but when a cauliflower popped up in our CSA last week, I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve made cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower mashed “potatoes” and cauliflower “rice,” but it dawned on me that I had never tried cauliflower “couscous.” Cold grain salads have always been a staple in my family in the summer months; they’re perfect paired with grilled veggies, meat, fish and even other salads. But if you’re trying to avoid grains or just lower your carb intake, this cauliflower couscous is the perfect alternative.


Cauliflower couscous has such a mild flavor, that I decided to spice it up with a ginger cinnamon dressing, dried apricots and cashews. The dressing, inspired by Ottolenghi, may sound weird, but trust me: you’ll want to put it on everything. This dish is seasonally versatile: eat it cold in the summer, serve warm in the winter. Either way, enjoy!


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Cucumber Melon Salsa

Gluten-Free   /   Paleo   /   Vegan

Cucumber Melon Salsa | ourfourforks.com

When I started this blog in January, I created a blogging schedule. I committed to writing two posts a week and I’m embarrassed to say that in June that commitment was overshadowed by other commitments (like giving a speech at a best friend’s wedding, spending time at the beach with family, and just cooking without documenting). Instead of being stressed about neglecting this space for a couple of weeks, I’m telling myself I’m ok with it.


As Molly at Orangette put it so eloquently: a blog can be a barometer for one’s life. If I don’t post for a couple weeks it means I didn’t feel like it, I failed to properly plan, or I was doing things that trump blogging. And it’s summer, so that’s ok.


As I mentioned earlier this month, Josh and I are members of Stone Soup Farm CSA. Every Wednesday we get a bunch of fresh vegetables and last week cilantro was included. I usually just throw cilantro into salads or use them for Mexican inspired dishes, but this week we had melon in the fridge that I wanted to use up. I’ve always loved mango salsa, but had never tried melon salsa much less cucumber melon salsa. A quick internet search led me to this recipe, which became my inspiration.


Cucumber melon salsa is a refreshing new twist on summer salsa. Eat it with chips, put it on top of fish, burgers or in tacos. Fresh, sweet, slightly spicy, and healthy, cucumber melon salsa is super simple to throw together for any summer meal.


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Roasted Bok Choy with Garlic Tahini + Thrive Cookbook Giveaway!

Gluten-Free   /   Paleo   /   Vegan

Roasted Bok Choy with Garlic Tahini | ourfourforks.com

Bok choy made an appearance in this week’s CSA share and, though I had eaten it before, I had no idea how to cook it (just one of the cool benefits of joining a CSA). Boil it? Sauté it? Roast it? It was much larger than the bok choy I’ve seen in the grocery store (which, I’ve come to realize, was baby bok choy), so I decided roasting would be the easiest way to go.


When Vega contacted me about testing out some of their products (like I did here and here), they sent a couple cookbooks my way. Although I’m not a vegan by any stretch (though Isabel is pretty close to being one), our shared philosophy is that vegetables should rule the plate. The recipes in the Thrive Energy Cookbook appeal to me because they focus on fresh, vegetable-based dishes that aren’t trying to mimic non-vegan recipes (i.e. no weird soy grilled cheese or textured vegetable protein chili). I’ve been on a serious tahini kick recently (just like I was this week and this week and this week), so when I spotted a roasted garlic tahini sauce recipe in Thrive, I was inspired to create my own version for the roasted bok choy. The result is a creamy, garlicky sauce that is vegan, paleo and gluten free. Perfect for drizzling on summer veggies, dipping veggies into or mixing into a salad.


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